Giovanni Trapattoni’s future as national coach of Italy depends on a patched-up team seeing off Turkey in a friendly in Pescara tonight.
Trapattoni was heavily criticised after Italy’s second round World Cup exit in South Korea and Japan and has barely survived subsequent poor results, including the recent 2-1 European qualifying defeat in Wales.
Most interesting new boy is Empoli’s attacking midfielder Antonio Di Natale. But Trapattoni’s prospects of surviving beyond Italy’s 13th game of the year rest more certainly in the experienced shoulders of Fabio Cannavaro and Antonio Iuliano in central defence and Ale Del Piero – in superb form for Serie A leaders Juventus – up front.
It can hardly have been a happy omen that Italy crashed 3-0 to the Turks in last night’s under-21 friendly in Giulianova.
: Buffon – Birindelli, Cannavaro, Iuliano, Zauri – Di Natale, Perrotta, Di Biagio, Nervo – Del Piero, Vieri.
Turkey: Omer – Fatih, Alpay, Bulent, Ergun – Okan, Tugay, Emre – Basturk, Hasan Sas – Ilhan.
By Keir Radnedge